The Met police published a fraud alert on Sunday 25, after several Lewisham residents reported that they had been ripped off by a “fake draining company” who claimed to be representing neighbouring residents in order to collect money for non-existent pipe repairs.
The swindlers have been using the company name “A1 Drainage Solution” and have committed fraud by approaching residents and claiming that a damaged pipe, apparently crossing ‘both properties’, needs emergency drainage work.
The resident is then asked for their phone number, and will later receive a call from the company asking for money to hire equipment. The payment is done by bank transfer, or given to a courier.
The incidents are dealt with by Operation Sterling, which is a nationwide initiative to combat “high volume fraud” and economic crime.
“High volume fraud” is directly targeted at members of the public, and can be committed by; false representation, failing to disclose information and abuse of position. Individuals often suffer financial loss, distress and inconvenience.
According to the Met Police it is unusual that the fake company has gone so far as to engage in doorstep selling.
The Met Police advises people to protect themselves from becoming a victim of frauds by always asking for identification from someone claiming to be a tradesman, and check credentials, including a permanent business address and landline telephone number.
Additionally, Lewisham locals are advised to approach their water provider and local council for further advice if they have been affected by this specific case.
Trading Standards are advising residents that if they receive such a visit or telephone call they should not pay any money or agree to any work and should report any suspicious activity to the Police on the non-emergency number, 101.
Residents can get more advice about how to choose a reputable trader by visiting www.lewisham.gov.uk/tradingstandards or by calling the national Consumer Direct helpline on 08454 04 05 06.
The Metropolitan Police non-urgent call number is now: 101